Saturday, May 14, 2011

Storm Time

I stood on my back deck, eating a piece of toast with honey and watching the rain come.

First, the air thickened, became so wet it was almost palpable. I had brought my little table and chair inside at that point and gotten my snack. But then I went back outside again. Gray clouds hung off to the left, over town. I heard something that sounded like it might be thunder and it might be a Mac truck rumbling by. There was a long wait.

Time passed, the air suddenly got colder, and the little wind-break of trees and bushes to my right started to move with the breeze. The gray clouds were now a wall on my left, and darker. But still there was only a haze of white overcast above my head. It might have been raining, or it might have been just thick and misty.

Finally a fat drop spattered on the deck. I wished it had hit my foot. Was it cold, or hot? When the wind-break started to whip back and forth like it was being attacked, I went in, and continued watching from the window. I was sad because I had no more toast.

One, two, three cars pulled out of my apartment complex in the next fifteen minutes. Is there something you know that I don’t know? I couldn’t fathom heading outside right as the rain was starting. Is this place not safe? It’s home! Surely you don’t want to be driving out in the thunder and driving rain. Guy With a Boat had been gone all day and I wondered about that, too. Getting rained on while out fishing, I can understand, but wouldn’t being out on the water draw the lightening to you?

(I figured out why he backs the boat from the blacktop on to the green strip that I call my lawn: he gets someone to help him tip the boat back enough that all the water runs out, and sometimes he takes a hose to the bottom inside, presumably getting the fish cleanings out. My “yard” is mostly parking lot, however, and usually he parks the boat outside his garage and the car inside the garage.)

Then the sky off to my left was gray, with distinct fluffy clouds instead of a wall. That must mean that the wall of black angry clouds was directly overhead. Fat drops of rain were pouring down, and the wind-break was madly thrashing about.

From the front window I could see rain driving across the blacktop as strongly as water from a power washer, slicing across the drive at a sharp angle. Another car left. They would warn me if this place were subject to flooding, no? Why on earth do they all leave? I remembered that I have two stories here and attempted to quell all worries of flooding. I could just go upstairs. And then, out the window on to the roof? That's some pretty disaster-prone thinking.

Timido the scaredy-cat hid in the cupboard as soon as the rain started pounding hard. After a while the wind slackened and the rain was continuing to pour, but mostly vertically. Mostly. It still doesn’t look like California rain. It looks like hell to be out in with an umbrella if you’re not completely encased in plastic.

Then the thunder. I’m getting peal after peal of it, sometimes so close it makes the walls shake. The lightning is never a clear fork here, but more of a generalized brightness. Slowly, the thundering rolls from my left to my right; gradually the intensity of each burst rises as it approaches, then subsides beyond me. And then it becomes much brighter outside as the clouds look almost white and thin, but the rain comes down harder than ever.

My grandmother once told me that the larger the raindrops, the shorter the rain storm, and there seems to be some truth in that. The raindrops here are huge.

The rain slackens, and becomes barely audible from inside. I curl up on the sofa and drift off into sleep.


Bardiac said...

Very evocative writing, thanks :)

I hope you're not within the danger of flooding area. Take good care.

Anonymous said...

Hope you're ok!

That was an amazing description.

Sisyphus said...

Nope, nowhere near any flooding. And both times we've had a storm, we got about 1 inch of rain.

So I still don't understand why these people are getting outside and driving around when there is lightning and rain everywhere. Is there something I'm missing?